Ice-free Arctic in 2050: can the trend be reversed?

In 2050, the Arctic ice cap could be ice-free during the summer, but...

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Ice-free Arctic in 2050: can the trend be reversed?

In 2050, the Arctic ice cap could be ice-free during the summer, according to a study conducted by the Italian Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences of the National Research Council, in collaboration with the Institute of Polar Sciences, who reconstructed the behavior of the Arctic cap as global temperature varied, studying the evolution of ice between 36,000 and 44,000 years ago.

The study Sea ice fluctuations in the Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea during glacial abrupt climate changes, by Cnr-Isac and Isp, has strengthened ESA's forecasts and confirmed the now almost certain danger of a total disappearance of the summer ice in the Arctic Circle.

The results of the study, in fact, showed how the reaction time of sea ice to sudden increases in temperature is almost instantaneous, or occurs within a maximum of 10 years, passing from a thick multi-year and persistent cover to open sea conditions.

and seasonal ice. According to the findings of the European Space Agency, the loss of ice depends precisely on the increase in temperatures, currently caused by global CO2 emissions, and even a substantial reduction in emissions will not prevent the disappearance of summer ice in 2050.

To obtain these results, the scientists combined data on two record changes in Arctic sea ice, observed through the analysis of sea salts in a so-called glacial core, extracted in northwestern Greenland, and on the association of bio- markers present in a marine sediment core taken from the Labrador Sea.

Can the trend be reversed?

The Montreal Protocol postponed the dreaded first ice-free summer in the Arctic by ten years. According to a UN report released in January 2023, the ozone hole could close by 2040, returning to 1980 levels, and the postponement the ice-free Summer is further confirmation of the fundamental importance of the Montreal Protocol.

According to simulations conducted by the University of California Santa Cruz, Columbia in New York and the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, published in the American Journal of Sciences, the Montreal Protocol has not only preserved ozone, but also helped to slow down global warming, and therefore the melting of ice.

The dreaded first ice-free summer in the Arctic is postponed by at least a decade, when instead it was expected for the middle of this century.